More than 40 vehicles crashed on a snowy stretch of Interstate 95 in Maine today, injuring at least 14 people, police say. The pileup in Etna, near Bangor, happened around 7:30am and involved several cars, a school bus, and a tractor-trailer, state police spokesman Steve McCausland says. No fatalities were immediately reported, but McCausland says some of the injuries were serious. Emergency personnel climbed on top of cars to reach motorists stuck in the middle of the chaotic tangle of vehicles. McCausland says one veteran trooper described the site as a "giant pile of metal." Both northbound lanes on a 30-mile stretch of highway were closed, and drivers were told to take exits in Etna and Newport to avoid the area. Troopers hoped to get the road reopened by the afternoon. Eastern Maine Medical Center had received 11 patients at its emergency department by 10am, all of them in good to serious condition.
Police say the main crash involved more than 25 vehicles, and there are a series of other wrecks leading up to the crash site. Some of the crashes involved two or three vehicles, and then other vehicles went off the road to avoid colliding with them. At a travel stop in nearby Newburgh, people involved in the crash were gathering to give statements to police, according to WZON-AM radio. Some were keeping warm in a parked school bus. One man was driving with his daughter when he got caught up in one of the chain-reaction crashes. "They were all pinging off of each other," he tells the radio station. The school bus had three passengers aboard. Police say the students were "shaken up," but not injured. There was at least an inch of snow on the ground at the time of the crash; snow was forecast to fall throughout the day, with total accumulations of 5 to 9 inches.